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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

SCHMIDT: Putting the smack down on sports


If you spent last Saturday watching gorilla-sized men turn each other’s faces into hamburger meat, you probably don’t need to read any of this. You are a smart bunch and have already come to the dark side. But if you’re a rubber-armed girly-man who has yet to experience the bone crushing thrills of mixed martial arts, you may want to step into the Octagon with me for the next 600 words.

MMA is not what you think it is. There are some nasty rumors being circulated by bowtie wearing mama’s boys who haven’t been in a fight since the third grade, and none of them are true. Contrary to popular belief, MMA is not a human version of cockfighting. It’s not a fixed sport operated by shady gambling rings or the mob. And no, MMA is not inhumane and does not violate any kind of human rights, federal laws or the Constitution.

In fact, I’m pretty sure “the right to put a whooping on a fool” is one of the first 10 Amendments.

What MMA actually is might come as a surprise. I tried to contact a handful of magazines to set up interviews for this column and none of them responded, which basically told me one thing: People in this business like to talk with their fists and not their mouths.

The world of MMA is a rock ’em sock ’em kind of place. It’s fueled by testosterone and ruled by men who have an abundance of muscles and a depravity of brain cells. Ironically, the remaining number of brain cells these fighters have — and in most cases you can count them on one hand — play a large part in their success, because MMA also happens to be a thinking man’s game. It’s like chess, only the playing pieces are large, hairy and dressed in tight spandex.

You’re probably wondering what the big deal is, right? You see, besides being wildly entertaining and a great reason to go to Hooters, MMA happens to be one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

If you watched that fight last Saturday you would already know this. Airing at 9 p.m. on CBS — the same channel that airs The Price is Right and 60 Minutes, a hilarious happenstance — was the broadcast of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers. The main event reached about 5.46 million viewers and drew impressive numbers from the ever important young adult and male demographics.

And then there’s the matter of Fedor. Be honest, you’ve never heard of the guy, which is sad because he’s unquestionably one of the most important figures in sports today. He is the savior of MMA. Fedor is commonly referred to as “The Baddest Man on the Planet,” capitalized because that’s the kind of title that merits capitalizing. He’s a big, mean, Russian heavyweight with a professional record of 31-1.

Scientists are 90 percent sure he’s a cyborg from the future sent here to destroy democracy. I’m 100 percent sure he’s unbeatable.

With the arrival of Fedor on American soil come huge expectations for the sport of MMA. He has already displayed the kind of drawing power that can put something as brutal as MMA on prime time cable, and his popularity will only grow now that college students have gotten their first taste of him.

This could be a pivotal moment in sports history. MMA is a new and unique kind of sport that has been knocking on the door of mainstream success for several years now. With Fedor leading the charge and CBS already willing to put the sport front and center, it may be only a matter of time before MMA joins the pantheon of top-tier sports.

My guess is that MMA — and Fedor — will take over the sporting world one uppercut at a time.

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  • P

    pete66Nov 13, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I have to admit, as much promise as I thought this article would have, I was quite disappointed with how it turned out. The demographic of people who do MMA is much different than anyone, including yourself, would think. I am a senior at Marquette (so I must be kind of smart), and I train MMA here in Milwaukee. The guys I train with range anywhere from other college students in the area, to businessmen, lawyers, doctors, etc. The guy who runs the gym got his engineering degree before joining the army, fighting professionally, and eventually opening his own gym. No only that, but the guy is by no means a big, hairy animal. He is actually pretty small, as are a lot of the guys I train with.

    I would suggest taht if you were to write again about a topic like this that not many people know much about, and many people have great misconceptions about, that you speak with someone that knows the topic real well. I would also love to see some sort of follow up article about MMA, possibly breaking some of the misconceptions, and let people know what it is about, or even mention some of the MMA events around Milwaukee (there was an MMA event at State Fair Park, featuring many local fighters, the same night as the Fedor fight). If anyone would want more info on MMA, or to look into training, check out Neutral Ground Academy by going to It is run by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt (under Pedro Sauer) Jon Friedland, and offers a wide array of MMA style activities (including jiu-jitsu, muay thai, kickboxing, judo, etc).

  • J

    Jack AttackNov 12, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    theres actually are alot of fighters who were spandex-style compression shorts (Fedor, Anderson Silva, GSP). and comparing MMA to chess is giving credit to the strategy and technique involved. althought i agree that fedor is neither that big or that mean. bad word choice.

    maybe people should start reading the whole article and stp trying to outsmart everyone.

  • D

    DanNov 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    What kind of shows have you been watching – with Spandex? Sounds like maybe Mexican Pro Wrestling. Slightly different sport. Spandex. What HAVE you been watching? Really, you description doesn’t even sound like Mexican Pro Wrestling. You sure that was a hairy man, and not a donkey you were watching? Mixed martial arts means mixed techniques – not mixed species. Eww. And Not big hairy men. Actually, the very lightest weights are enormously entertaining. Not big hairy men – little bundles of gristle and spit where the fights sort of remind you of the Tazmanian Devil attacks in the old cartoons. Spandex??????? Maybe you tuned some sort of PBS jazz dancing thing when you thought you were watching Fedor.

  • M

    MikeNov 12, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Wow, talk about some back-handed compliments. You’re almost as bad as the full-on critics. Fueled by men with a depravity of brain cells? You mean like Rich Franklin, former UFC champ with a master’s degree in Education who used to be a math teacher?

    And Fedor is a “big, mean, Russian heavyweight?” Actually not that big for a heavyweight (see:Rodgers,Lesnar,Carwin), and probably the calmest, most-even tempered person both inside or outside the Octagon.

    Downplaying it as just fisticuffs does a great disservice to the sport — these guys train for years in brazilian ju jitsu, muai thai, wrestling, etc… Fedor is one of the most accomplished Sambo practitioners in the entire world. But none of that takes brains right? Ask Kimbo how far sheer brawn will get you against real practitioners of MMA. (Not a diss to Kimbo either, he has shown a strong desire to improve and learn the sport.)

    Everyone loves the highlight-reel knockouts, but there’s a lot more to the sport.